QUICK RESPONSE: Rockhampton Blood Borne Virus and Sexual Health Clinic’s clinical nurse Gary Wright with the rapid HIV test strip.
QUICK RESPONSE: Rockhampton Blood Borne Virus and Sexual Health Clinic’s clinical nurse Gary Wright with the rapid HIV test strip. Te Stevens

Chlamydia identified as the most common STI in Rockhampton

IN THE time it takes to wait for a pizza, Gary Wright can tell you if you have HIV.

And it's all thanks to the rapid HIV test available at Rockhampton's Blood Borne Virus and Sexual Health Clinic.

The clinical nurse said the test had been available in Queensland since the end of 2013.

"It is a really great screening tool and the whole process takes about 20 minutes from start to finish," he said.

"Statistics is one thing, but when you see people day in, day out, you do see the internal stigmatisation that goes on... you do see the fear of screening.

"The main benefit of (this test) is the peace of mind; you can know your status before you leave the building."

HIV might be in focus following World AIDS Day on Tuesday, but it certainly isn't the biggest problem in Central Queensland.

With Chlamydia being identified as the most common sexually transmitted infection in the community, Mr Wright said the region's youth were a particular concern.

"We screen hundreds of people a year... Rocky in many ways is no different to other places in Australia and while HIV is certainly around, the main STI we screen for is Chlamydia and that is our main focus.

"Anecdotally, it would be about one in 30 (tests) that come back positive."

Mr Wright said it was essential for the whole community to use condoms and regularly get themselves tested for STIs.

"If I had any message for people it is that HIV does not discriminate," he said.

"You should think about a sexual health screen at least once a year."

HIV Facts

HIV is a virus. AIDS is a condition brought about by the virus HIV; you can have HIV without having AIDS

HIV can only be transmitted from an infected person to another through direct contact of bodily fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal secretions

Saliva, tears, sweat, faeces and urine are not infectious



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